The Top 50 Women in Cybersecurity Africa accolade recognizes women in cybersecurity in Africa who are making significant contributions to the industry and profession in the continent.
The list is done in collaboration with Women in Security & Resilience Alliance (WISECRA), a sub-network of the Security Partners’ Forum. WISECRA is a non-hierarchical, non- outward facing “plug-and-play” Agile Network that brings together various women in security & resilience entities from across the globe to network and share best practices. WISECRA cuts across all sectors of security & resilience.
Other objectives of the accolade include: creating and/or shedding light on women role models; giving more attention to the women in cybersecurity agenda at the continental level; fostering women’s voices and influence in cybersecurity in Africa; boosting women’s profile for career and professional growth; and starting a culture of awards and accolades in cybersecurity in Africa.
THE 2020 ACCOLADE
This is the inaugural accolade, attracting 300 submissions from 10+ African countries. Most represented countries in the nominations and finalists include South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Tunisia in descending order.
As for the industries represented, there is telcom, financial services, government (regulators, security and infrastructure agencies), academia and others – across top tier companies, consulting firms, vendors, higher learning institutions and others.
The finalists include very experienced and seasoned professionals to young professionals with only several years in the industry. They work in domains such as cyber psychology, policy and law, advocacy, technical, consulting, management and more. Roles like CEOs, Managing Director, CISO, CIO, Head of Information Security, Engineers, Consultants etc. are common in the list.
The panel included seven women; experienced in their fields, some awards holders, some with extensive experience as awards judges or awards curators. The judges are:
- Christi Maherry – CEO, LAWTrust, South Africa
- Jane Frankland – Owner and CEO, Cyber Security Capital Limited, UK
- Alice Namuli Blazevic – Partner and Head, Innovation and Technology, KATS Law, Uganda
- Abeer Khedr – Director of Information Security, National Bank of Egypt, Egypt
- Bonnie Butlin – Co-Founder & Executive Director, Security Partners’ Forum & Expert Network Member (Cybersecurity) at World Economic Forum, Canada
- Esther Lugoe Mengi – Founder, Cyber security and Digital Forensics Expert, Serensic Ltd, Tanzania
- Sherifat Akinwonmi – Information Technology Manager, GSK, Nigeria
A common observation during the judging is – that Africa has an increasing number of women in cybersecurity leadership and influence positions, and others doing remarkable work in the industry. But they are not effectively using their voices and influence, and taking actions to support the women in cybersecurity agenda in Africa.
The call is for these and all women to be proactive, raise their voice. get involved and make contributions at their levels, in any way they can to support the cause and the industry at large.
We look forward to this accolade attracting more attention to and fostering the women in cyber agenda in Africa, and inspiring an “awards culture” in cybersecurity in Africa.
Cephas Okoth M.
Founder and CEO, Cyber In Africa
Executive Director, AfricanWIS Network